A Clinton County Nursing Home (Plattsburgh, New York) employee was recently sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and required to pay $700 in fines after neglecting to follow a care plan for toileting that resulted in a resident’s fall and fracture. Dawn Andrews, Certified Nurse Aide at the New York facility, allegedly left a resident who suffered from dementia alone during toileting. A care plan in place at the time of the incident called for assistance and monitoring during toileting. The resident fell to the floor and suffered a fractured hip.
This is a very common fact pattern in the nursing home neglect cases we handle on a daily basis. Many nursing home facilities respond to falls by telling family members that the fall was unavoidable. They explain, “Elderly people fall. It happens.” This is not an acceptable explanation. It may true that the elderly are more prone to suffering falls. However, families place their loved ones in nursing homes for a reason (usually because they could not provide 24 hour are on their own and felt that medical professionals would be better suited to provide the necessary care/supervision). The nursing home staff should be held accountable for properly assessing the resident for falls, as well as properly implementing an appropriate plan of care to prevent falls.